Ausonius at Night
This article examines the fourth-century c.e. Ausonius' descriptions of himself as a nocturnal poet. Interest lies in passages where Ausonius relates that he wrote at night in order to play the part of the modest, self-deprecating author. Past scholarship has generally dismissed Ausonius' modesty as insincere and empty or stopped at identifying it with the captatio benevolentiae. I will go further in exploring the rhetorical dimensions of Ausonius' theme. The examination contributes to the study of paratextuality in Latin antiquity and to our understanding of Ausonius' authorial identity, of the functions he assigns to poetry, of his methods of shaping the reception of his work, and of his literary culture.